Author Archives: John Mahaffy

The Golden Rule

“He [our Lord] once more made the voice of the law the voice of the living God, who is present in every commandment, so absolute in his demands, so personally interested in man’s conduct, so all-observant, that the thought of yielding to him less than the whole inner life, the heart, the soul, the mind, the strength, can no longer be tolerated. Thus quickened by the spirit of God’s personality, the law becomes in our Lord’s hands a living organism, in which soul and body, spirit and letter, the greater and smaller commandments are to be distinguished, and which admits to being reduced to great comprehensive principles in whose light the weight and purport of all single precepts are to be intelligently appreciated.” (Geerhardus Vos, The Kingdom of God and the Church, pages 61–62)

“This is a golden rule indeed! It does not merely forbid all petty malice and revenge, all cheating and over-reaching. It does much more. It settles a hundred difficult points, which in a world like this are continually arising between man and man. It prevents the necessity of laying down endless little rules for our conduct in specific cases. It sweeps the whole debatable ground with one might principle.” (J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Matthew, p. 66)

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

Ask, Seek, Knock!

“In all this the world and history embracing preaching of the kingdom assumes a form which does not keep aloof from the most trivial and commonplace things of life, but reveals itself as a preaching of God’s fatherly mercy capable of fathoming the hidden distress of every human being. This unity of God’s fatherhood and kingship in Jesus’ preaching constitutes the inexhaustible richness of the gospel.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom, p. 240).

“When we have tasted something of the breadth and length and depth and height of of the love that passeth knowledge there is a corresponding enlargement of heart and of mind, there is an establishing of communion, there is an exploring of the riches of the covenant of grace and of the treasures wisdom and knowledge that constrains to enlarging, ever-widening, ever rising prayer and praise. Make every experience of his mercy the reason and ground for increased more abundant prayer. ‘Ask and shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth, and he that seeketh, findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened unto him’ (Luke 11:9–10).” (Collected Writings of John Murray, Vo. 3, p. 171).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

Your ‘I’ Problem

“Still more seriously, behind the passive verbs lies the judgment of God, who maintains impartial justice. ‘You will be judged’ looks beyond social criticism to God’s ultimate verdict.” (R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, p. 275).

“See, however, 18:15–17… for a proper desire to correct a ‘brother who sins.’ The balancing of such pastorally responsible criticism against the dangers set out in this pericope calls for a rare degree of self-awareness combined with unselfish concern for others.” (R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, p. 274).

“Self is always at the back of it, and it is always a manifestation of self-righteousness, a feeling of superiority, and a feeling that we are all right while others are not. That then leads to censoriousness, and a spirit that is always ready to express itself in a derogatory manner.” (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, p. 167).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church

Why Tragedy and Suffering?

The church I serve, Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC, is spending time on Saturday in prayer and (for some) fasting. Facing our current situation, we ask “Why?” As we gather, via Zoom, for Scripture reading and corporate prayer, one of the passages we will read is Luke 13:1–5. Jesus pushes us past simplistic answers to the why question. The following quotes are worth considering.

“By virtue of union with Christ, Paul is saying, the power of Christ’s resurrection is realized in the sufferings of the believer; sharing in Christ’s sufferings is the way the church manifests his resurrection-power.”

“Romans 8:18ff. especially disclose the breadth of what ought to be our conception of Christian suffering. Suffering has to be seen in the context of the “frustration”/“futility” (mataiotes), the “bondage to decay” to which the entire creation has been subjected, not by the inherent nature of things but because of God’s curse on Adam’s sin (v. 20-21 are, in effect, a Pauline commentary on Gen. 3). Suffering is a function of the futility/decay principle pervasively at work in the creation since the fall; suffering is everything that pertains to creaturely experience of this death-principle.” (Gaffin, “Theonomy and Eschatology: Some Reflections On Postmillennialism” pages 10 & 11)